When Constituencies Speak in Multiple Tongues: The Relative Persuasiveness of Hawkish Minorities in Representative Negotiation

Wolfgang Steinel

Leiden University – Social and Organizational Psychology

Carsten K. W. De Dreu

University of Amsterdam – Department of Psychology

Elsje Ouwehand

University of Amsterdam

Jimena Ramírez-Marín

University of Amsterdam


IACM 2007 Meetings Paper


In three experiments, we examined how people negotiate on behalf of a constituency in which opposing factions send different signals. Participants negotiated as sellers on behalf of a group consisting of factions that favored either a cooperative or a competitive negotiation. Experiment 1 (N = 61) showed that representative follow the majority of their constituents, yet competitive (but not cooperative) minorities could challenge the majority’s influence. Experiment 2 (N = 132) replicated this finding across different decision rule conditions. Competitive minorities were influential, no matter whether the group would decide unanimously or with majority vote. Experiment 3 (N = 87) showed that competitive members had more influence than cooperative members, even when factions were equally large. We conclude that the influence of a minority faction in intergroup negotiation depends on the specific content of the faction’s message, and its strategic implications. We discuss implications for negotiation research and intergroup theories.

When Constituencies Speak in Multiple Tongues- The Relative Persuasiveness of Hawkish Minorities in Representative Negotiation

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